Monday, May 11, 2015
MORE MUSINGS ON REBIRTH AND THE DECLINE AND FALL OF TRADITIONAL CATHOLICISM FOR PLASTIC, BUSY CATHOLICISM
I've only scanned the rest of the book, so I won't comment on it until I have finished reading the book other than to say that I think their "rebirth" approach is just as wrong as their initial approach to parish life and ministry which they now disavow.
But they do name some of the problems of parishes since 1968 which was brought about by significant forces in and outside of the Church. I'll list some of those:
1. Vatican II changes brought a new paradigm to Catholics who thought the Church couldn't change as was commonly taught prior to Vatican II. With the most profound changes in the Liturgy and those spouting an ideology that the doctrine and dogmas of the Mass had changed too, Catholics thought everything could change in the Church including defined doctrines and dogmas. When it becomes obvious that defined dogmas and doctrines won't change, these once strong Catholics, weakened by a false understanding of Vatican II will leave the Church for Protestant denominations, no denominations or to become secular humanists.
2. In 1968 Humanae Vitae was the beginning of a reinforcement that doctrines and dogmas would not change and this outrages those who were duped into thinking dogmas and doctrines would change.
3. Anti-authority rebellion inspired Catholics to apply the secular rebellion to Church rebellion and increased the decline of Catholicism within those who approached the Church and her teachings and discipline with this mentality.
4. With silly creativity a part of the implementation of the new Roman Missal in the late 60's and 1970's which led to sacrileges of all kinds during Mass and the loss of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the loss of belief in the Mass as a Holy Sacrifice, a meal of bread and wine shared by giddy friends overpowered the theology of the Mass that led many of the once Faithful to cease attending Mass. What was about 90% attendance rate and active participation in the Mass prior to the Council is not about an 11% attendance rate at Mass in some major northeast dioceses.
5. The decline in Mass attendance was preceded by the decline in Confession attendance, an almost collapse of attendance by the 1970's. The Sacrament of Penance was irrelevant to the spiritual lives of once staunch Catholics who use the Sacrament frequently and would never receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin. But the loss of use of Confession was coupled with the loss in the belief of sin and how this damages our salvation. Sacrilegious Communions become all to common.
6. In this same period where so many Catholic embraced artificial birth control, living together prior to a marriage and sexual promiscuity, divorce increased tremendously especially with relaxation of civil laws that prohibited quick divorces. Today there is little difference between Catholics and others in terms of the percentage of divorce.
7. Today Catholics totally imbued with the sterility of sex between heterosexuals due to artificial contraception now accept the sterility of sex between homosexuals and they do not think that chastity is a virtue or modesty. Same sex marriage is accepted even though completed opposed by Christ and the official teachings of the Church.
So what does a parish do when so many Catholics have lost their Faith? Do we cater to the loss of faith and develop parish life that simply becomes a place where people can get to know one another, have common activities and do some good in the world?
Rather shouldn't priests and parishes do the following:
1. recovery of the Baptismal, Confirmational and Eucharistic identity of Catholics?
2. recover the reverence Catholics once had at Mass, an increased belief in transubstantiation that leads to a recovery of awe and reverence, a rediscovery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that brings sobriety and solemnity to the Mass rather than a giddy, rowdy and superficial attitude about the horizontal aspects of the Mass particularly in terms of fellowship and meal aspects of the Mass. (A recovery of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as a part of the Sunday Mass schedule will assist in this recovery of traditional reverence)?
3. a recovery of popular devotions and piety as Pope Francis is leading the Church?
4. A recovery of the Sacrament of Penance and Confession coupled with a recovery of what constitutes sin, Original, venial and mortal and the necessity to be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion?
5. A recovery of strong Catholic Sacramental marriages with large families nurtured not by materialism but family values and Catholic sacramental practices in the home--the family as the Church in miniature?
Is it possible to do these sorts of things above or impossible because it seems so daunting and pre-Vatican II?
Or is it easier to get people doing all kinds of churchy, horizontal things, like opening cafes that provide coffee and donuts after all Masses and people doing this, that and the other and in an aimless non-theological, non doctrinal, non dogmatic, non canonical way? A plastic Catholicism nurturing the Protestant work ethic in place of authentic Catholicism.
I ask! You answer!